Archives for category: Time Management

Ever since becoming engrossed with Tony Robbin’s Personal Power program in the early 1990’s, one of my primary life-long passions has surrounded taking charge of how my time is spent.

By focusing, and executing, on the most urgent, critical and important activities in our life, we can deliver the necessary results to propel our lives toward optimal success.

Some of my earlier blogs such as the 6 P’s about proper prior planning and High Leverage Activities reinforced the importance of taking charge of your life on this earth.

What I have found during my professional business and coaching careers is that we are responsible for our own demise when it comes to “time & life management.” The predominant culprit appears to be the dis-ease of Over-Commitment!

For a myriad of reasons, human beings seem to be unable to say “NO” when we should.

In teaching “time-management” over the past few decades, I’ve encouraged attendees to plan or commit to no more than 50% of their/your available time. Surprises, unexpected interruptions, unplanned activities, etc. will quickly absorb the remaining 50% that you thought you had available to be used at your discretion!

By Under-Committing, you have a fighting chance of actually staying in control of your precious personal time…and how it will be spent.

Victor Hugo, author of Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame stated that “He who every morning plans the transaction of the day and follows out that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through the maze of the most busy life.  But where no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is surrendered merely to the chance of incidence, chaos will soon reign.”

Here’s your challenge: will you CHOOSE to…under-commit, over-deliver, eliminate chaos, and gain control???

overcommit

Close Doors Coehlo

Personality assessments indicate that I am a driven and targeted individual, the type of person who tends to be more “task” oriented than “people” focused.

Folks like me tend to maintain a detailed task list…some form of grass catcher document that is potentially used to control our personal and professional life.  However, a challenge arises when our overachiever mindset creates a manuscript that neither Superman nor  Tony Robbins could get accomplished!

The essential component in making this tool an effective resource is to thoroughly review, and consequently prioritize, the activities that we are focused on accomplishing.  The process I’ve used for decades is the A,B,C,1,2,3 ranking method promoted by the likes of Day Timer and Steven Covey.

This philosophy prescribes that we must focus on the most urgent, important actions that will deliver the maximum benefit to ourselves, our business, our world.

The key is to discern between what’s truly important versus the trivial, and then have the self-discipline to concentrate one’s energy on those activities that will get you somewhere.

 

 

One of my favorite coaching areas is that of Attention Management (the artist formerly known as Time Management).

Time cannot truly be managed…there are 86,400 seconds in a day and once gone, you cannot recover them.  On the other hand, how you spend that time, your attention and focus,  can be proactively controlled given that proper personal disciplines and barriers have been established.

All to often, people spend their days hitting the ground running, operating in reactionary mode and being at the mercy of the world and people around them; instead of controlling their activities.

A surefire way to improve your effectiveness is to dedicate time to a daily action plan, either the night or early morning before your committed day starts.

Adding a quiet time or meditation period is a useful tool in this process.

Once you’ve created this daily strategy, draw upon your personal power to make every effort to stick to that plan, no matter what.  Sounds easy, does hard!

Further, ensure you include some time slots for handling the unscheduled interruptions that will come, regardless of the boundaries you’ve established!

Give it a try next week, and I’ll bet you’ll see an astonishing increase in productivity…not to mention that you’ll have less stress and feel better!!!

Plan your work

Action = Priorities

Your genuine priorities are exhibited by what you focus on and how you actually “spend” your valuable time.

Those actions and decisions have, thus far, lead you to where you are (or aren’t) today.

For passions that are truly a personal priority for you, you can find a way to make them become a reality (and given the dynamic nature of our lives, that vision can, and will, frequently change).

Your ultimate desires will be the ones that command your attention and awareness.  These are the activities in your life that matter the most to you.  This is where you MUST invest your time, interest and energy.

A sound prioritization process should provide you with the ability to determine what actions will bring both joy and fulfillment into your life, and into the lives of others!

Managing your life’s activities and consequently how you spend your valuable time is controlled by no one other than yourself.

Of course, its easy to let circumstances overcome your personal power and, as a result, you can fall into the trap of “feeling like the world is conspiring against you.”

For the most part, the reality is that we, as individuals, are responsible for the choices we make.

Having dealt with employees, bosses and/or clients who have expressed their discontent with how their lives are at the apparent mercy of others, I quickly remind them that they are in control of their schedule and destiny.

A simple starting point is to begin every day with your personal game plan, allowing some time for the unexpected surprises and time-bandits that WILL occur, and then implement your personal discipline to ensure that your day is spent the way that YOU had intended.

Priorities

Dickens determination

Wow, was Charles Dickens ever ahead of his time when he made this declaration in the 1800’s!

The art of time management rightfully reinforced the importance of such traits as planning, proactivity, prioritizing and punctuality as essential in achieving your goals (see the blog on the 6 P’s for more).

In the late 1960’s, the computer industry introduced the concept of multitasking, the apparent improved performance by an individual via handling more than one task at the same time.

I recall an era when job seekers proudly touted multitasking as a skill on their resumes!

The reality is that multitasking results in wasted effort due to human context switching and apparently causing more errors due to insufficient attention.

A 2009 study by Hewlett-Packard revealed that multitaskers performed much worse at tasks involving cognitive processes and memory than did those who focused on single tasks.

As alluded to in The Electronic Leash blog, modern day technology has forced us to heed Dickens’ direction. Those who indeed can demonstrate the skill of concentrating on one task at a time will surely outperform the others who remain at the mercy of allowing distraction to occur.

One of my favorite coaching areas is that of Attention Management (the artist formerly known as Time Management).

Time cannot truly be managed…there are 86,400 seconds in a day and once gone, you cannot recover them.  On the other hand, how you spend that time, your attention and focus,  can be proactively controlled given that proper personal disciplines and barriers have been established.

All to often, people spend their days hitting the ground running, operating in reactionary mode and being at the mercy of the world and people around them; instead of controlling their activities.

A surefire way to improve your effectiveness is to dedicate time to a daily action plan, either the night or early morning before your committed day starts.

Adding a quiet time or meditation period is a useful tool in this process.

Once you’ve created this daily strategy, draw upon your personal power to make every effort to stick to that plan, no matter what.  Sounds easy, does hard!

Further, ensure you include some time slots for handling the unscheduled interruptions that will come, regardless of the boundaries you’ve established!

Give it a try next week, and I’ll be you’ll see an astonishing increase in productivity…not to mention that you’ll have less stress and feel better!!!

Plan your work

 

Welch learning

I’ve been a part of several “learning” organizations that placed great emphasis on competitive analysis and awareness, in the interest of achieving performance improvement.

An executional challenge arises in that during the “press of business”, we tend to become overwhelmed by the daily reactionary activity screaming for our attention.  Before you know it, there goes another day, week or month and nothing much has changed in terms of how we operate.

This quote by Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, sums up one of the major differentiators between successful and “wanna-be” organizations, the ability to effectively transform what we have learned into meaningful action; and do it with adequate intensity to impact performance and results.

Knowledge is potential power” sums it up nicely!  If you are unable to apply what you’ve learned, nothing will change.

Pick a setting…your workplace, golf course, restaurant, classroom, any conversation, etc. and conduct an attention observation experiment.

The bombardment of real-time, rapid-fire information at our fingertips has created a world where our focus is constantly pinballing from one “interruption” to the next.

Between cell phone alerts, email intrusions, new message pop-ups, etc., it’s a wonder how one can truly concentrate on any item for more than a few minutes at a time.  These disruptions wreak havoc on any significant efforts that require undivided attention…if we allow it.

Two personal favorites are: the business “meetings” where attendees spend their time looking at  their laptops or mobile devices; and the “face-to-face” conversations wherein eyes are focused on computer screens or  I-phones during most of the discussion.

You have the personal power and discipline to manage the electronic leashes should you choose to do so!

electronic leash II

Let’s start with an assumption that most business “leaders”, in route to achieving their current status or position, have demonstrated a proven ability to set clear expectations, give direction, monitor progress, coach, and lead their respective teams towards a desired end result.

Well, you know what they say about assumptions!

An astonishing observation is how frequently people “hit the ground running”, hustling through the day, week, month…consistently in reactive mode, and then try to figure out where their time went?

Their personal and professional life activities are controlling them, versus it being the other way around.  Especially in this technology intensified age, it is imperative that YOU choose to control the what, when, where, and why of how you spend YOUR time.

“Champions of accomplishment” MAKE the time every day, week, month and quarter for Proper Planning in order to Produce Performance results, based on a Proactive strategy…that’s being a disciplined Professional.

planning